Stephanie Ledwidge is a consultant project manager for a Multinational BioManufacturer in Singapore, having completed the part-time MSc in Strategic Management at DIT College of Business in 2015.
A firm believer that timing is everything, when the opportunity arose to move to Singapore the year after graduating with my MSc in Strategic Management from DIT, everything just fell in to place. While quite daunted by the thought of uprooting, leaving family and friends and moving half way across the globe to this little red dot, I was nervously excited by challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. The move was considered a lifestyle change in addition to furthering my career.
Within weeks of moving to Singapore, I secured a role as a consultant project manager in a Global BioManufacturing facility. The facility was in a transitional phase and I was charged with leading a number of projects. As project manager, I am responsible for initiating, planning, executing, all elements of the project in addition to managing the allocation of resources.
Not to sound clichéd, but each day is different and with it brings new challenges. The reality of project management is that it is rarely 9-5 and it can be extremely demanding especially when you reach a critical point in a project. It involves working long hours to support your team and ensure deadlines are met; this is especially true when projects are inherently linked and target timelines overlap. The main challenge of a project manager is delivering on time and balancing limited resources and manpower.
It would be foolish to underestimate the cultural differences of working in Asia. While Singapore is nicknamed “Asia Lite” due to the prevalence of western influences, it remains a largely traditional society. Exchanges are governed by status and nurturing relationships is key. Interactions are approached with the objective of achieving a win win for both parties in addition to building long-term successful relationships. Being assertive can be viewed as an act of aggression and is most certainly not welcomed as reputation is of high importance. However one year on and I can thankfully say I have an understanding and appreciation for the differences that exist in this multi-cultural city.
I have noticed that since I have been here remote workers are steadily on the rise. While there are many advantages, this also complicates management given that work is dispersed: often across multiple geographic locations and time zones. Organisations are increasingly in the position to leverage resources and manpower with the main advantage being that operations can continue 24/7. If critical issues arise, remote workers are equipped to support, and in these instances the time differences can work to our benefit.
What’s next for me?
While Ireland will always be home and I do miss the Green Isle, Singapore is certainly home for the foreseeable future; however, I remain open to new opportunities and locations. Keen to progress my career development I plan to undertake the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in the not too distant future, and I am proud to say that I have started a beginner’s conversational mandarin.
Stephanie Ledwidge- Graduate MSc Strategic Management, DIT College of Business